Churchyards are natural havens for life of all kinds. The Living Churchyard scheme, which we joined in 2010, encourages us to provide a haven for grasses, wildlife, birds and insects, as well as a fit setting for the church, and a place that we can all use for reflection and rest. A 2011 wildlife survey undertaken at St Peter’s revealed that we have 9 types of grass, 9 types of tree, and no less than 40 species of flowering plants (as well as 2 species of bat) in our grounds.
The project requires us to look after the St Peter’s churchyard in a particular way. It involves leaving certain areas of grass uncut for the growing season and encouragement of the flowers that naturally grow there. In Winter snowdrops flower in swathes on the east side. In Spring, primroses flower through much of the churchyard, but particularly on the south side. Both snowdrops and primroses are gradually spreading. In June, oxeye daisies provide carpets of flowers to the south and north of the church. Other species are spreading too – namely bluebells, bugle, wild garlic, bedstraw and cow parsley. We hope that with careful management the beauty of the churchyard will increase and be enjoyed by all.
Awards are made to churches under the Living Churchyards Scheme. In 2011, (after our first year as a Living Churchyard) our churchyard received a “Highly Commended” award. The award reflects the hard work put in by Michael Felce, who has nurtured this tranquil space for the last few years. The church now has Spring and Autumn gardening Saturdays, and a grass cutting rota to assist Michael, but further help is always needed and would be much appreciated.
There is a noticeboard in the north transept of the church which gives more information and a pictorial display about the project.